ARTICLES / General / Top Ten
Ways To Care For Yourself/
Keep a diary. Start today.
Describe your fears as well as your hopes, the
reality of what each day is like, Don’t be afraid to
write about the losses, big or small.
Stick with your diary. Let
yourself record the little victories, go back and
review the earlier months and years. Notice the
personal, physical, emotional goals and successes
you and your loved one have achieved.
Create a simple communication
network. Think of this as a designated communicator.
Choose a friend or relative who will make all the
calls and tell all the news when there are calls to
make and news to tell, you might want to save the
“big successes and wonderful news” sharing for
yourself, but you will be worn out if you are
constantly on the phone retelling the details of the
last days or weeks over and over.
Let your friends help you. When
someone asks “Can I do anything for you?” give him
or her something to do. Let your friend run an
errand or stay with your loved one while you take a
break and get out on your own.
Visit with people you love. You
may often have to ask your friends or family to come
to your house or keep you company while waiting for
your loved one’s treatment to be over. You need to
be a whole person who has friends and interests and
can think about something besides the
responsibilities of caregiving. You shouldn’t have
to reinvent your life when your caregiving
Stay involved in your loved
one’s personal life. Be careful that your loved one
does not slip from the role of loved one, family
member, friend into the role of patient. Don’t let
yourselves lose the relationship you had prior to
the need for caregiving.
Talk about it! There are
innumerable fears and anxieties associated with any
illness or disease, which can and will tear a person
apart. Talk to your friends and your loved one about
your feelings. The worst thing you can do is build a
wall around yourself to protect others.
Keep the romance alive. Couples
facing caregiving situations are apt to forget to
nurture the relationship that brought them together
up till this point. These relationships need just as
much, if not more attention, now that one of you is
ill, than they did before.
Include your loved one in your
changes. As time passes we all change in small and
big ways. If you find a new friend, discover an
interest in a new genre of books or music, find a
new recipe or a great place to eat, share these as
much as possible with your loved one. Introduce your
new friends, have them visit, if your loved one
cannot easily leave the house.
Spend time reading the new books
aloud, listen to the new music together.
Keep setting goals. Before you were a caregiver, you
set personal goals. Your life did not end because
you became a caregiver. When the caregiver duties
subside, you should not “Return” to your life, you
should continue with your life.